Is your Ventilation Ready for Spring?

As someone who thrives on outdoor adventures, I eagerly anticipate the warmer weather and the lively buzz that spring brings. But it’s also the time when our barn ventilation systems kick into high gear. With temperatures climbing during the day and dipping at night, it’s crucial that our ventilation systems keep pace with the changing temperatures of the seasons.

I encourage producers to conduct a thorough check-up on their ventilation systems to ensure they’re ready for the impending warmer weather, utilizing this checklist for guidance:

  • Soffit doors: Producers must prioritize checking their soffit doors despite any lingering concerns about cold weather. While the closure of outside soffit doors on the north or west sides of barns serves to shield against snow infiltration into the attic, it’s important to recognize the potential drawbacks of keeping them shut. Keeping these doors closed can starve the attic’s ventilation system, especially as more fan stages are activated. Therefore, once the threat of snow has passed, open the soffit doors, and clear any dust or debris obstructing the openings. The barn inlets will close as needed to manage the cooler air.
  • Uncover wall fans: Ensure that all wall fans are uncovered, in preparation for that unexpectedly warm day. If I notice that stage 3 fans are running, that is a clear indication that it is time to uncover the stage 4 fan in anticipation of rising temperatures.
  • Curtains: Remove any bubble wrap or plastic covering your curtains and switch the toggle switches to automatic mode. Additionally, check the curtain settings to ensure a delay of 2-3 degrees before transitioning into tunnel or curtain mode after maxing out on fan power. This is important to prevent curtains from bouncing up and down on those 40 to 50-degree days. This provides our pigs and our people with a comfortable consistency in air movement.
  • Inlets: Calibrate and check the functionality of each inlet in every fan stage, aiming for a target airflow of 600-800 FPM (Feet per Minute). A good rule of thumb is that the airflow should hit you in the face from 6-8 feet away from the inlet. Inlets may need recalibration due to ice buildup during colder winter days.
  • Alarms: Check the settings on emergency thermostats and alarm high/low settings to adjust for the upcoming summer temperatures.

This is the time of year when our barn ventilation and controllers often work the hardest. Doing our part to make sure the equipment is ready will ensure our pigs stay comfortable and content.  Please reach out to any member of the PIPESTONE team if you have questions regarding the ventilation system in your barn.


Article by Erin McCoy

Erin McCoy grew up on a 200-sow farrow-finish farm in southwest Minnesota. She has been a team member at PIPESTONE in various roles since her high school and college days, graduating in 2008 from South Dakota State University with a B.S. in Animal Science. Today she shares her expertise and love of pig production working as a Veterinary Physician Assistant.